My latest startup, the one I waited 10 years for!

I firmly believe in “things happen for a reason” and more often than not, it takes a lot of time for you to see the real picture. At least in my case, nothing has come quickly and without a struggle.

It has now been 5 years of launching Satthwa and it is doing great, It was self-funded and to this day we did we have not sought external funding and are a profitable company. It was not easy but if you have the patience then you just have to wait it out, sooner or later the time does come.

I was always interested in sports nutrition and nutraceutical products, like vitamins tablets, protein powders, pre workout etc. This category was very interesting to me and I always wanted to launch my own brand and wanted to do the same what as we did with Satthwa, launch products which solve a problem and are affordable with measurable results.

Introducing GradeOne Nutrition 🙂 Watch out for it, launching September 2020.

Considering shopify for your ecommerce startup in India? Don’t!

Shopify Review India

I was under the same dilemma a few months back on whether I should go with shopify or some other ecommerce platform (woo-commerce, opencart) for my startup Having a fair bit knowledge of ecommerce stores both open-source and hosted platforms, I decided to go with shopify (against my better judgement) and now i regret it.

I have started quite a few ecommerce ventures before and i have used mostly used open source carts such as opencart and they have worked fairly well. If you are someone which has zero knowledge on how to start your ecommerce store then shopify might be where you start (though debatable) but if you are going to hire or want to do this yourself and have some knowledge, then using shopify can be a big & expensive mistake.

Starting up cost: It’s not cheap, you will be paying Rs.2000/month from the get go and apart from this, you have to pay 2% of the sales which you do. Even if you use your own payment gateway, you will need to pay commission to shopify and then you have to anyways pay transaction fee to the gateway provider. Why does shopify do charge per transaction? Compared to opencart, where you can install it on any server for less than Rs.500 a month and get going without any additional transaction charges. Keep in mind that Rs.2000 only get you the entry level features while on opencart, you get all advance features such as affiliates, order modification, gift cards etc. for FREE!

Average cart experience: It’s not like the checkout is better than other free carts our there, in my experience the conversion would not increase more than 1% overall, if at all. Once you receive an order, you cannot edit it, which is important as in India, you do get customers asking for order modification. GST tax system is a part of the cart but a simple thing such as an invoice is not provided with GST on it, for this you need to install an app which costs $10 a month.

Uptime issue: Shopify promises 99.98% uptime but in the past 2 months, I have faced 2-3 outages, ranging from 2 min to 20 min. This is above their promised SLA and we did not even get compensated for that. These days, if you host with a decent hosting company like Siteground (Aff. Link) where we host all our website, you get near 100% uptime with free SSL on all your website and a host of other free services for 1/3 the cost of shopify.

Paid Extensions: To run shopify like a professional store, you would need to install lot of apps, most of these apps are paid and range anywhere from $5 to $50 a month, this quickly adds if you are using even 3-4 decent apps. A good affiliate app would cost $20-$40 a month and that would also have restrictions on the number of affiliates you can create and would charge you more as the affiliates go up, something like this is inbuilt on other carts such a opencart. Even a simple app with which you can charge additional fee from your customer on COD order is a paid app. They do have a shopify own free version of this but the app is buggy and a lot of people have pointed out the bug but shopify refuses to have it fixed. ( , Rated 2.6/5)

Blogging feature: Or the lack of them, if you switch from wordpress to shopify blog, you will get a feeling as if you have gone back in time, when blog just started to popup. The features are so basic and is a shame compared to wordpress. Granted that shopify is not a blogging platform but these days a good blog is a must. Let me give you an example, imagine you are writing an article and that article should go to 2 categories, ecommerce & rants. You do not have any option to include this in both, you will need to choose either or. With respect to SEO feature, thats very basic as well. One would argue that you can always use wordpress as your blog and shopify for ecommerce, but then they be 2 different platforms. Imagine you add something to your cart and then happen to click on the blog article to read it, your cart is not transferred to the blog and you just lot a customer.

We have been using shopify for 3 months now, and till this day i think that i should have either gone with opencart or woo-commerce. I hope someone from the shopify team reads this article and taken note.

I would be happy to help anyone who is debating on what platform they should go with, in best interest… please comment with your question on this article and i will try my best to answer each query.

We moved to our new office!

Updating this blog after a year, rarely getting time these days to be able to update as much as would want to be regular at it. Wanted to share the good news that we have moved into our new office a couple months back and it is has been an amazing feeling.

We decided to move from our Vasant Kunj office because of the lack of Metro connectivity and general approach to the office, the idea behind finding the new office was that it should be near a metro station, in south Delhi and should have a good approach.

We found exactly what we were looking for in Saidulajab… (yes, it took me time to be able to pronounce the name) It’s bang on Saket Metro station and our office is barely a 2 min walk from there. We got a bare shell office space and decided to do it up as per our requirement, it took us 2 months to get it complete but the effort was worth it. We did the entire project ourselves, without any interior designers help.

Let me share some before and after images.

Bare shell Office Space
1 Month Into The Construction
Final Look Of The Office

Although this office is for our company Rocket Digital Pvt. Ltd. but primarily used for our brand Satthwa and it’s team. It’s been over 3 years since we launched Satthwa and it has been going great, the journey from one product to now many has been challenging but very rewarding as well.

Satthwa Biotin India

Along with this, now we would be coming up with some new product very soon, the first to come our it a Biotin Supplement, and we are launching this with Zinc in it, It will be the first Biotin Supplement in India to come with Zinc which is excellent for controlling hair fall and hair growth. We are going live very soon and hope it is as successful as out other products. Be sure to check our biotin out and also our other products at our newly launched e-commerce store Thank you for reading this article. I hope to be more frequent at writing in the future.

Merging fan pages on Facebook

Did you know that you could merge 2 similar fan pages on FB if you were the admin to both? I did not know this until a couple days back and the reason for my research was the confusion i was having on how to manage multiple Facebook fan pages as a startup.

When I started Satthwa, I started with just 1 product, which was the Premium Hair Oil and at that time, it did not make sense to start a “Satthwa” facebook page as my niche was only men and women looking to stop their hair fall and and regrow hair.

It made more sense to start a niche facebook page and that was Hair Treatment Now.

Fast forward one year and now since a few more products have been launched under Satthwa, there was a need to create a dedicated fan page. But there comes a challenge, updating 2 pages with quality content and then trying to grow both their fan bases is a difficult and time consuming job, especially for a bootstrapped startup.

My research lead me to the possibility of merging my fan pages and keeping only Satthwa Facebook Page as the main option.. makes sense as that is the brand page. However after careful consideration, I decided against this.

When you merge 2 pages, you loose all timeline content on the one which is being merged. In my case, I would have lost all content on the Hair Treatment Now page and since this page is a year old and has a large following, I opted against this.

I would have made much more sense if FB let the timeline content as is and merged the page. Anyways, for someone who want to do this, below are some screen shots which will point you how to get this done.

Merging Facebook Page - Step 1

Merging Facebook Page - Step 2

Merging Facebook Page - Step 3

On this step, the first option you would need to select the page you want to stay and the second which will be merged to the first.

Urban ladder dials 911

Just got a marketing email from Urban Ladder which says that calling 911 won’t work for some emergencies. For a lot of people who don’t know, 911 is an emergency number used in the United States, in India the number is 112. Unless this newsletter was meant for US customers, where Urban Ladder does not operate, this is what i call a “Marketing Fail”